AG’s story of being grafted into God’s greater storyline
“Did you know that Israel is one of the most unreached people groups of the earth?” We were having lunch with Samuel Whitefield (IHOPKC and OneKing Ministries) and I remember this question and fact confounding the predispositions in my mind and piercing my heart all at the same time. ‘But isn’t this the place where Jesus walked? Surely there should be many followers of Jesus? But aren’t there so many Christian pilgrims who go there every year? Do you mean Israel, God’s own people, do not have the gospel?’ The disparity between my assumptions and reality was much too confronting to simply forget.
To be honest, Israel - or the Middle East - was not a location that had remotely crossed my mind as a region Awaken Generation would have a role to play in. But sometimes, God grafts us into a storyline much greater than what we could dream or imagine for ourselves. Being invited to understand the redemptive story of God reconciling His family in the nations (including Israel) back to Him has astounded and provoked me greatly in my worship of Him as King Jesus.
The reason why as believers we should have an interest in Israel is simply because the Father does. He is a promise-keeper, and the promises that He made to Abraham and the Israelites still stands today and will be fulfilled according to His righteousness. It is absolutely stunning that as gentiles in the nations, we have a role in seeing Israel receive Jesus as her salvation.
The Story of Obed-Edom
Two days before the AG team made our way to Israel, we gathered for our usual Monday devotions. We did not expect the Lord to crash into our meeting the way He did. As His presence gripped our hearts, the word that was released was ‘Obed-Edom’ (2 Samuel 6). We began to study the story of a gentile who hosted the ark of the covenant at his home till his whole household prospered - it was this man’s profound revelation in hosting the presence of God that provoked King David to bring the ark of the covenant back to the heart of Jerusalem and ultimately set up a worship ministry that consisted of singers and musicians ministering to the presence of God. What was most interesting was the fact that Obed-Edom, as a gentile, was assigned and appointed to be a part of the worship ministry in Israel - what a privilege and honour! We believe this a beautiful prophetic picture of the role the gentile nations have in provoking Israel to yearn for its rightful inheritance in King Jesus.
One of the highlights of our trip was actually spending some time at Obed-Edom’s house! It is currently a church that is looked after by a company of nuns from the Philippines.
Dor Haba Worship Camp
It’s easy to feel removed from the conflict that is rife in the Middle East, especially when we are halfway around the world. So to be right in the land itself with young people of Jewish, Arab, and Palestinian backgrounds all in one camp, being able to teach on worship and help them unlock the song of the Lord in Hebrew and Arabic was such an eye-opener. I believe prayer and intercession is so powerful and needed over this nation, but there’s something so exceedingly special about being able to have real conversations and form real friendships with the people of the land.
We realise that there may never be a political solution for peace, but yet it is only through Jesus that reconciliation can happen and there can be true peace (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). We had the privilege of witnessing this on the last day of worship camp. The tension between the two people groups were very real, you could see it carried by the kids who have learnt hostility, hurt, and offense from the generations before them. But on the last day as we invited the kids from Bethlehem to be prayed over, the presence of Jesus filled the room, and great weeping, forgiveness, and reconciliation took place as the nations gathered to pray, prophesy, and call out destiny in them.
It was such a beautiful picture of God’s heart for the nations, that His heart is really for family - for every tribe and tongue to be adopted back into the family of God. I love that none of us miss out on this, not one; we are all welcome to the family of God.
Worship Night in Jerusalem
The picture above is why I so believe in the power of worship in hosting the presence of God and bringing forth salvation. This is Kelly - she is Jewish and was born and grew up in Jerusalem. Kelly encountered the love and presence of Yeshua last year at the worship night in Jerusalem and subsequently went on a journey in discovering the Holy Spirit and giving her life to Him! At this year’s worship night, she testified of how the Holy Spirit completely changed and transformed her life and prayed in Hebrew over her nation. To see her dance and worship with lifted hands in adoration of Jesus filled my heart with immense praise and thanksgiving to a God who would use the gentiles of the earth to bless Israel with the gospel of salvation.
I leave you with words from Psalm 122, a chorus that we sang so often over Jerusalem. We pray that the Lord will grip your heart with the beautiful redemptive story our Father is writing over the nations and over Israel - will you respond to His invitation?
“We pray for the peace of Jerusalem,
Peace be in your walls and security in your towers,
For my companion’s sake,
We say peace be to you…”
(spontaneous chorus by Jaye Thomas)
For more resources to understand God’s heart for Israel, click here to check out: ‘It Must Be Finished’ and ‘Israel and the Great Commission’ by Samuel Whitefield.